2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge – An Extreme Endurance Race for shooters!

Match Name:  2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Location:  Q-Creek Ranch Hannah, WY Coordinates: 42.208956N°, 106.523373W° Match Director:  Competition-Dynamics Match Dates: Sept 6-8 2019

Introduction to the Race

Every year I have been involved in the Sniper Adventure Challenge it has been different.  This is what makes the race fun and challenging.  This information is presented as a snapshot of what Tyler and I experienced, however you need to have very broad skills since it is extremely likely that this event will be different year to year, with some basic similarities (core things like Land Navigation and Shooting will likely remain parts of the event).  However like a cat, its is difficult to anticipate what the match directors will include, and when you think you know, it ends up being something else. Tyler has a podcast about our adventure located here on the SubMOA podcast. I have written and spoken about the Sniper Adventure Challenge in the past:

The Sniper Adventure Challenge is one if not “the” most physically demanding races that involve shooting.  It is a team match where one competitor is designated the “Precision Rifle shooter” and the other is the “Carbine shooter”.  Both competitors are required to carry and shoot pistol as well. Lots more information about the details of the match are located at the Competition-Dynamics website for the match here. The main stressor for the race is land navigation.  The 2019 map was very similar to the 2018 map and covered around 375 square kilometers.  The map provided by CD was a 1:30,000 scale again due to the size of the course.  If you use the provided map, you must make sure your devices (compass/protractor) are calibrated for that scale, and not only a 1:24,000 scale.

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Marker
Point Marker for Sniper Adventure Challenge

This marked my 3rd time competing in the Sniper Adventure Challenge.  This year, I turned 50 years old during the match, Happy birthday me! My partner this year was Tyler Hughes from Max Ordinate Academy. Tyler is a great long range shooter, a prior Marine Scout Sniper and now teaches law enforcement, military and civilian classes in southern California. It was an interesting match in that there were many more husband/wife couples participating.  There are normally 3 broad phases to the match, Daytime 1, Nighttime and Daytime 2.  I will outline the match broken into these 3 phases after laying out some of the match structure. There is a LOT of required gear, and competitors packs often weight between 50-70 lbs keeping your pack weight low should be an important consideration for most people other than Tom Fuller and Dave Steinbach :-).

Land Navigation

To successfully complete this match you would navigate between 72-96 km during 35 hours. To the left is an example of a marker planted somewhere on the course.  The top has reflective tape so they can be seen at night.  The example shown here is uncommon in that it is not hidden at all.  Often the markers are in shrubs, behind rocks or trees etc. The race map and coordinates are presented in UTM coordinates so make sure you are comfortable using a map, compass and USGS topo maps with UTM coordinates. This year the match was again a “multiple mission format”.  For this format teams given mission route sheets one at a time, and only received a new route sheet once the current mission was completed.  This year, the challenges were geo-located in the broad area with the land navigation points, and included on the mission route sheet.

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Mission 1
Mission 1 Route Sheet

Land navigation points were “Special Checkpoints“, “Mandatory Checkpoints“, “Mission Objective Final Checkpoints” and “Bonus Checkpoints“. Checkpoints in the mission could be done in any order, once you received that mission route sheet.  You could not continue to the next mission until you completed the current one successfully. It is important to note that there may be other checkpoints that are on the course from prior years races.  Each checkpoint has a specific unique pin layout, and must match the correct checkpoint, and be punched into your score card in a certain way to successfully count as a valid “punch”. This year, (1) mandatory checkpoint could be skipped in a given mission, and still be considered successfully completing the mission.  The only exception was the “MOFC” Mission Objective Final Checkpoint for the mission which was typically the last checkpoint and located where you would receive your next mission. Bonus checkpoints could be punched at any time during the race after you received the coordinates, and as the name suggests were optional.

Challenges

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Tyler
Tyler shooting a challenge in the lake

During the race you will be presented with challenges that test a variety of skill sets.  Some examples are survival/SERE, intelligence gathering, medical first aid, marksmanship, cryptography, physical challenges, communications and many others. Challenges are identified on the route sheet simply as coordinates.  You have no idea what the challenge will be until you arrive at the challenge.  The Challenges are not mandatory, you can skip any of they you want, but to win, you need to accumulate the points (up to 100 per challenge for most challenges). In 2019 you could complete the challenges in any order you wanted once you received the coordinates and knew where to find them. Some challenges were only open during certain time frames, so if you wanted to complete them you needed to manage your route to complete them while they were open.

Completing or “Finishing” the Sniper Adventure Challenge

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Finisher Patch
My 2016 / 2017 Finisher Patch

The last 2 years no team has officially “Finished” the Sniper Adventure Challenge.  The course has been difficult and requires a lot to officially complete the course.  To officially complete the SAC in 2019 you were required to:

  1. Complete All 3 Land Navigation Missions
    • punching all mandatory land navigation checkpoints minus the (1) allowed drop
    • punching the missions final objective checkpoint
    • doing the above for all missions (3 of them this year)
    • make it back to the race finish (the starting point) under your own power before the race ends
  2. Completing the Challenges
    • of the available 24 challenges you must achieve 50% of the available points on 16 of the challenges

Only an average of 3% – 7% of teams officially finish the Sniper Adventure Challenge.  I was fortunate in both 2016 and 2017 to finish those matches.  To the left is an example of one of the Finisher patches.  This patch is just a bragging rights patch, it doesn’t count towards the scoring in any way.

Our 2019 Race

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Route
39.27 miles from my approximation of our route based on the SPOT points

By my very rough calculation we did around 39 miles over 35 hours.  Had Tyler and I gone from the HQ3 back to the final finishing point by the most direct route on roads, it would have added 11 miles to our route for a total of 50 miles. At our pace roughly another 4.5 hours.

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Final Leg
Final Leg by road of 2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge

Day 1

On Day one, we had the safety brief and then received our Mission 1 route sheet. We could have sat down and plotted out all Mandatory Checkpoints (12), Special Checkpoints (6), Bonus checkpoints (6) and Challenge Locations (5) on our map.  Tyler made a really great suggestion, and we saw that none of the Mandatory or Bonus checkpoints were in the same “GRID [ 74/75 ]” as the Special Checkpoints and Challenges 1-9.  Because of this, we could just plot Challenges 1-9 and the Special Checkpoints and worry later about plotting the rest.  This let us get a bit ahead of other teams, remember this is a race! Typically the very first challenge is some sort of separator challenge.  This year was a bit different and mixed land navigation with shooting to create a gap between all the teams to they would not bunch up at stages, and nobody could “follow” the last years lead teams to land navigation points.  The gist of the separator was that the first set of challenges were shooting challenges and had to be alternated with obtaining a punch at a Special Checkpoint.  You had to first navigate to and punch your card at a special checkpoint, then you could got shoot a challenge.  However you were NOT allowed to get consecutive punches (do 2 or more special checkpoints in a row), or shoot consecutive challenges with out getting a special checkpoint navigation punch.  The challenges and special checkpoints could be obtained in any particular order, just not consecutively.  This was a great idea to break

Tyler and I shooting
Shooting Challenge 2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge

up the competitors and force them to make a route strategy right at the beginning of the race.  These special checkpoints and shooting challenges (C1-C6) were open until 13:00 Friday. We did Shooting Challenges | Special Checkpoints for several hours until a problem arose.  Q-Creek ranch is a working ranch, and some farm hands decided to head into the danger zone, which caused a cease fire.  We were able to get 1 more Special Checkpoint during the cease fire, however couldn’t do any of the shooting stages or get any more special checkpoints due to the rules (we were forced to alternate shooting/checkpoints). While we were waiting, we got an offer to do 150 burpees each (300 total for the team) for an equivalent 100 points on a shooting stage.  Since we couldn’t do anything else, and we weren’t sure when the ceasefire would end, we took the Range Officer up on the offer. Tyler started it off – I can tell you I am not a fan of burpees.  I do them in training, but I really wasn’t looking fotward to 150.  We alternated sets of 10, and I moved under the RO’s shade tent (thank you), since it was pretty hot at the time.  Tyler decided it would be fun to poke me, so he suggested we switch to sets of 15.  After complaining a

Doing Burpees
Doing Burpees for 100 points during the ceasefire

bit, I matched his sets of 15.  I think there were a couple of teams to stepped up to the challenge, but not many were desperate for points. Once it was clear the cease fire wasn’t going to be lifted, we abandoned the remaining shooting challenge so we could move on to the next set of challenges.  That kind of sucked since the one we abandoned was an easy 100 points. After hiking for about 45 minutes we heard an announcement over the radio from Zak “Challenges 1-6 will be extended for 2 more hours due to the ceasefire”.  Tyler was pretty irritated at this since we lost out on 100 points from that dropped stage and it didn’t make a lot of sense to try to hike back. We completed the next shooting challenges in a similar fashion and finally headed over to the Hanger where challenges C7-C9 were located. At the Hanger, we had some new challenges that were fun.  “Escape and Evasion”, “Barrel Roll” and “Digging a hole”.

Escape and Evasion
Escaping from Zip ties and Duct Tape while hooded!

The first challenge we were presented with was the “Barrel Roll”.  When I first heard the description my response was “Hell No, not worth it”.  The challenge was to barrel roll on the ground around the perimeter of a square defined by posts .25 km on each side.  That is 1 km of barrel rolling across the desert.  I knew this would a.  Take Forever b.  Tear us up Tyler wanted to go for it.  We could get 50 points for each team member who successfully completed the mission, and we needed 16 challenges with 50% to complete the SAC. I told Tyler I would guide him as he rolled across the desert.  Oops – I accidentally guided him into a cactus patch.  After around 15 minutes, Tyler had enough, and we abandoned the challenge.  As a side note, ZERO (0) teams completed this, only 5-6 were motivated enough to try it.  Better to fail quickly, one team actually made it over half way before quitting. After abandoning the barrel roll, we went to the “Escape” challenge.  We got hooded, and one team member (me) got their hands duct taped behind them, while the other (Tyler) got the big zip tie.  We were moved some distance apart and rotated a few times for disorientation purposes.  The goal was to escape within 10 minutes.  We had seen guys doing this challenge right before us, so we had a short conversation to develop a plan.  The plan was: a.  Move towards each other and work to first remove the blindfolds so we could see b.  hide a knife in my back pocket so we could use it to escape c.  remove the other team members bonds with the knife It was a good plan.  It went pretty well – the RO forgot to search me, and so didn’t find my knife.  However he does this type of stuff professionally (PD I think), so he gave Tyler a kind whisper in his hear (Sorry Devil Dog), and Tyler got a set of tight zip ties.  Once they let us go, we executed on the plan pretty well.  Tyler guided me to him by voice, and I keeled down so he could reach my hood and he got it off pretty quick.  Then we reversed and I removed his hood.  Then we could see!  Tyler then got the knife out of my back pocket and we tried to cut my duct tape.  Tyler’s zip tie was so tight however that he couldn’t really manipulate the knife.  The heat was working in my favor as the sweat killed the glue on the duct tape, so I was able to get out without cutting.  Then I used the knife to cut Tyler’s zip tie, inadvertently giving him a small poke in the back with the knife – hey, he is a Marine, he can take it!

Digging Holes
Digging a hole challenge

If there seems to be one consistent challenge other than shooting for the SAC over the last few years, it has to be digging holes.  It seems like every SAC has hole digging on the menu, and there is just no way around it, it kind of sucks.  In 2016 I brought a sub 1oz “shovel” which was like the one below, and Ultra-Lightweight trowel

Lightweight Shovel
Lightweight Shovel from Tent Labs

from Tentlabs called the Deuce of Spades. Yes – very light, but really difficult to dig a hole deep enough for my partner to stand in up to his knees (that was the challenge).  Fortunately we were able to scavenge an iron bar from the nearby trash heap to help us dig faster, and we weren’t the last team done.   This year we brought a heavier shovel, but really it was much faster to dig like the team on the right with a bigger heavy bar.  I saw some teams who brought other shovels actually digging pretty fast in the hard Wyoming dirt, so this is one of the skills its worth testing in advance of the SAC. After we finished digging our hole and filling it back in, we moved off to the side to finally plot the rest of the navigational points, and come up with a plan. We completed the first set of challenges around 14:00, right around the original closing time, so we decided we were pretty on-schedule for the estimated timeline of the match to complete the SAC. Soon we headed out with the intent to get the first navigation point, along with Bonus 1 & 2.  There were a couple of teams ahead of us, and I REALLY wanted to catch them.  I heard from some of the RO’s that some of the teams had skipped some challenges to get out in front on the navigation, but the competitor in me was ready to finally get hiking after all this other slow challenge business!

Hiking the Roads
Tyler and I hiking the roads early in the race.

We hit Mandatory checkpoint 1-1, then skipped Bonus 1 to get ahead of the other teams, and headed over to Bonus 2. On the way to Bonus 2 we got nailed by a massive storm that blew in out of nowhere.  We first started getting hit with pebbles in the back by 50 mph winds.  Then a wall of black and rain swept across the plains and just soaked us.  We huddled in a ditch beside the road to dig our rain gear out of our pack.  Oops – we decided to save some weight and leave part of the rain gear in the cache bag.  Bad decision!  Tyler had rain pants, and I had a LaSportiva Hail jacket.  We were about half dry. After around an hour, the storm passed and we continue hiking in soaking gear to Mandatory checkpoint 1-2. Tyler and I continued to hike to the land navigation points throughout the day, occasionally running into other teams who chose to go a different route than we did, likely because they skipped the bonus checkpoints.  We were between 1-4 (Near Red Lake) and 1-5 (on a ridge) when it got dark.

Nighttime

Night land navigation is pretty difficult.  It is also when most of the teams drop out during this race.  If you can make it through the nighttime you pretty much should be able to get through the rest of the match.  If there is a clear sky with a big moon and stars, it can be fairly easy to see terrain features like

Moon Set Info
Check online for when the moon sets, and how much illumination

peaks etc, but if there is cloud cover, or no moon it can be very difficult to see, and require using a headlamp to navigate.  It is very useful to check what the moon is doing for the match on the internet, so you have some idea of what to expect. From Red Lake at dusk we navigated through decreasing light to checkpoint 1-5.  Tyler shot an azimuth towards a peak in the far distance, and I felt like we hiked pretty well inline towards that peak.  We ran into a deep drainage, and had realized at some point were were off our land navigation.  After traveling almost 3 KM about directly south, we ended up approximately 1 KM to the west of the checkpoint.  Because of the dark, the terrain was difficult to make out and compare against our map.  There was very little moonlight out so that make it more difficult as well.  Once we realized we were not in the correct spot, we headed east until we ran into the start of the ridge.  We ascended the ridge and started looking for the point.  After finding it, we headed towards challenges 10-12 which were on the way to checkpoint 1-6. The night challenges were interesting and fairly difficult this year.  The challenges were “Post Grid”, “Constitutional Law” and “Health Check”.  “Health Check” was just a series of questions to make sure we were lucid.  Questions to make you think and articulate and idea like favorite meal to cook etc.  It was really no way to fail it unless you were dehydrated. “Constitutional Law” had 3 choices, articulate the Bill of Rights, recite the preamble to the US

Text of the US National Anthem
Full Text of the US National Anthem

Constitution verbatim or Sing the entire US National Anthem.  Tyler and I tried the National Anthem first.  Of course we got the first verse and we didn’t even know there were other verses.  So that option was out – no harm in trying… I thought I might remember the preamble to the US constitution, so I started in “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are” – wait, that is the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.  How about “In order to form a more perfect Union, provide for the common defense and” – “OK, I give up”.  We moved on to listing the Bill of Rights – which didn’t have to be exact, and we could get partial credit if we got some right!  We passed with somewhere around a 70/100.  Here is the Preamble of the US Constitution

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Next was the “Post Grid”.  We were given a sheet of around 20 math problems.  There was a grid setup in the field of posts which are the same orange posts used to mark checkpoints.  The instructions were to identify to the RO how the list of math problems and the physical grid were related.  Tyler and I walked around the entire grid, each post had a letter of the alphabet on it, so it seemed likely we were going to be making up a phrase or something.  We told the RO “The grid and match problem relate by being a cipher”.  He said “And?”. Hmm, we thought he just wanted to know how they were related.  But turns out they wanted us to solve the cipher…  We started trying to solve the math problems.  Knowing math order of operations was important for this challenge.  There turned out to be around 24 posts, so we knew some letters weren’t going to be in the cipher, and we also knew that our match problems SHOULD end up having an answer that was less than 26 – however we had some mysterious answers.  Turns out some of the math problems were incorrect, but our sheet hadn’t been “fixed” – oh well.  Next there were some (to Tyler and I) math problems like “3!”.  Ok, for non-math people like us we just had no clue.  Searching after the race – see that means “3 factorial”, which should have been 3x2x1=6.  During the race, we had absolutely no clue – but neither did the RO – or any of the other nearby RO’s so they gave us that answer.  To make the cipher more confusing, the phrase you were spelling out was in Latin – so you couldn’t get some of the letters and just wing it, you really had to solve it.  There was no penalty for turning in an incomplete answer, and we were told which ones were actually correct, and which ones were incorrect.  By using this method, we finally solved the cipher and moved on. In 2019 we didn’t have any night time shooting challenges, so that was a plus, but we had to hike up a pretty steep peak that was very loose shale type ground.  That was fairly tricky and slow (checkpoint 1-8).  We hiked pretty much straight from checkpoint 1-7 up the mountain to checkpoint 1-8.

Mission 1 point 8
Mission #1, checkpoint #8

Many of the other teams took the easier route around the back of the mountain, but that was much longer, and ultimately slower we believe.  The total elevation gain was only around 900′ from checkpoint 1-7 to checkpoint 1-8, but at night it seemed much more! After checkpoint 1-8 we headed south to checkpoint 1-11, by navigating along the rim of the mountain we were on until we hit a road.  That worked pretty well, then we headed almost directly west to hit checkpoint 1-10This one gave us trouble.  We made the decision to navigate by bearing over 3 km to the point, and were significantly off the point (around 1km south of the point).  It took us a while to determine we were very off, and when we saw other teams hitting a different area, we wised up and were able to find the point.  This lost us around 1.5 hours, and was where we starting having difficulties with our land navigation.  By the time we completed checkpoint 1-10 it was morning. We covered approximately 12.5 miles during the night, and lost around 2.0 hours due to our land navigation errors on 1-5 and 1-10.

Daytime Day 2

After leaving checkpoint 1-10, we headed towards HQ2 / Mission 1, Checkpoint 1-12.  We motored down and were still into HQ2 pretty early, with only 4-5 teams ahead of us into Mission 2.  There were several challenges at Checkpoint 1-12, Challenges 13-15.  These included “Rappelling” with your gear down a short cliff, doing a children’s “Puzzle” and the “Dummy” challenge.  Lets address the “Dummy” challenge first.

Dummy Press
Team Overhead press with 200lb Dummy

The “Dummy” challenge was to lift an approximately 200lb “dummy” over your head as a team, ie a team overhead press.  Each press earned the team 1 point, so to get the minimum needed to pass the challenge you needed 50 presses.  The highest team that attempted it when we arrived at HQ2 had only gotten 19 points.  We decided it wasn’t worth the time to attempt it, so this was one of the challenges we bypassed. One of the few things Tyler and I have spent time training on together (and honestly both were looking forward to) was climbing.  I had spent time climbing in Eldorado Canyon with my first SAC partner and retired climbing guru Scott Decapio.  I climbed inside at Movement with Scott early mornings and Tyler once he hit Boulder.  We practiced a bunch, but both Tyler and I were pretty surprised and disappointing when the climbing turned out to be rappelling, since it wasn’t very challenging and was over so quickly. The next challenge was completing a children’s puzzle – sounds easy right?  It took Tyler and I 4 times to get our 100 points.  in 2018 there was a similar challenge but the puzzle was much smaller, but the process was much the same.  Only one partner could touch the pieces of the puzzle, and he had to wear a blindfold.  The other member of the team had to “guide” the other person verbally to get all the puzzle put together before time was up.  Total time 5 minutes to complete the challenge, however you could attempt it as many times as you wanted.  I can tell you neither Tyler nor I are good at giving directions 🙂.  We tried first with Tyler blindfolded and me giving directions.  That didn’t work so we switched.  That didn’t work either.  At that point I figured we would just get better if we kept our roles, so we stuck with me blindfolded and Tyler giving directions.  Finally on our 4th attempt we just made it in time.  The RO was pretty much rooting for use the entire time since as the clock gets close to the end it gets pretty exciting! We spent a few minutes eating and working on our feet since the cache bags had been moved to the new HQ2 location, then were on our way for Mission 2 checkpoints!  As you might notice Mission 2 has a LOT less mandatory checkpoints that Mission 1.

Mission 2
Mission 2 Route sheet

We thought this was great at first, since it meant a lot less time to complete Mission 2.  Based on the way the points were laid out on the map, we decided on a strategy.  Our plan was to hit points in this order, 2-2, 2-1, C17, C16, B7 (if enough time) then finish with 2-4 (HQ3).  Tyler and I left HQ2 at a good pace, and progressed up the road to find 2-2. We ran into our 2nd Land Nav difficulty at 2-2.  As we were progressing down the road, we were terrain associating – basically looking at the map, and comparing it to the terrain features and the road shape.  We saw some guys up on the hill above us where the checkpoint would be located, and Tyler and I had a short disagreement on our location in real life vs the map.  I thought we were close to the point at that time, but Tyler thought the point was much more down the road.  We move farther down the road, then decided to move to the crest of the hill to search for the point.  The point according to the map was just below the short 10′ cliff face that ran along the edge of the ridge.  It “SHOULD” have been visible from the top of the ridge.  Both Tyler and I could not find the point, and covered around 2 KM looking down from the ridge.  The other team was running into the same issue as us, since we could see them, and they clearly could not find the point either.  After around 1.5 hours we discussed.  We could see from the terrain what we believed to be the drainage on the map that was adjacent to the point, and where that drainage crossed the road, but we clearly could not see the point from where we were.  I suggested we move back to the road to the junction of the drainage and the road, and pace count up the slope from that junction to get close.  We executed that plan.  We still could not find the point, and I decided to head 100 meters west because the slope I was on clearly did not show the point.  After moving 100 meters, I could clearly now see the point just below the cliff, and we had finally found this one. Now, we were about 3 hours behind schedule (our imaginary schedule).  We knew were were having issues, but still had high hopes to complete the 2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge.  At this point it was around 10:00 or so on Saturday morning.  We took a look at the map and headed down the road towards 2-1, and decided as a team to stop heading across the big open expanses because that seemed to be causing us problems. We headed towards the lake we had passed on the way in, since we know our turn to checkpoint 2-1 was around there somewhere.  On our way there we passed several guys cutting through the plain to hit our road on their way from 2-1 to 2-2 where we just left.  We were thinking “Good luck finding that one guys”! Once we were above the lake, we decided to take a bearing and pace count from the road straight towards the point.  The geography was similar to 2-2 in that the point was just below the edge of the short 10′ cliff.  This was where we hit our final Land Nav problem, and the one that put us out of the race.  We went both above and below the cliff face for 3 hours and could not find the point at all.  Tyler did 3 different resections, and I verified we were right on top of the point.  I also did a resection from a curve in the river that was clearly defined.  We were supposedly right at the point, but could not find the point no matter how hard we tried.  After being tired and spending 3 hours, we had a discussion to determine how to proceed.  Our options were to keep searching, but continue to lose time, or give up on this point.  If we gave up, our strategy of skipping 2-3 meant we either had to go get that point which was around 4 KM away, or give up on finishing the match.  At this point we felt too much time had been lost for us to complete the match and we decided to instead focus on obtaining more points if possible. We gave up on 2-1 and headed to C16 to get some challenge points.  Challenge C16 was run by Andy Reinhardt and was an interesting shooting stage.  With all gear on your body as worn you had to engage 3 different distance targets.  Target #1 was a picture(sort of) of a rattlesnake.  You had to draw your handgun and hit the rattlesnake target within some time limit.  No problem both Tyler and I had no issues drawing our pistols and nailing the snake. Next up was the medium distance target a “Coyote”.  It was a carbine target.  We had to access the carbine while on the clock and hit the target with 1 round before the time was up.  Tyler got my rifle out of my pack – was pretty straight forward and handed it to me, I then shot standing, and make the impact before time was up. The final target was a far target – I think it was supposed to be a Mountain Lion, and it was the rifle shooters target – same drill, access your firearm while in your gear, I struggled a bit with getting Tyler’s rifle out of his pack, it wasn’t attached as clearly as mine was, however he still had plenty of time to make a kneeling shot on the far target, and we got all 100 points for this challenge. We heard many teams struggled with this stage since people were doing all sorts of crazy things like disassembling their rifles for packing etc.  I highly recommend using a pack like the Bison Pack from Attack Pak to easily carry your rifle and gear.

Bison Kit from Attack Pak
Bison Kit from Attack Pak

The Bison Kit allows you to securely strap your rifle to the backboard of the pack, meaning it doesn’t flop around at all.  Then there are two fairly large compartments that strap around the rifle which protects the scope and rifle even more.  The rifle muzzle sticks up above your head, but its very comfortable.  The pack is light weight and very adjustable. This pack make it super easy to shoot this challenge since the rifle was very accessible. The next challenge C17 was the lake shooting stage.  Tyler volunteered (and I was happy to let him) to go in the lake.  You had to craft a “pontoon” or some sort of floating craft to shoot from, and keep your feet off the bottom of the lake.  The partner couldn’t go in the water, but could assist by stabilizing the in water shooter.  The competitor in the water had a rope attached around their waist that could be used to help stabilize them, and drag them out if they went under.

2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge Tyler
Tyler shooting C17 in the lake

To the left is Tyler shooting off my Bison Kit from Attack Pak, packaged inside a trash bag we “bought” from the RO for 2 mags of 9mm ammo.  Tyler is floating on his pack that was inside a trash bag I brought with me in case of rain – but which we forgot to use when we got slammed by the storm.  This was Tyler suggestion, and it certainly worked out well for us to try to keep the gear somewhat dry.  Tyler got 1 hit on the target which was still pretty dang impressive.  Stabilizing the contraption was very difficult for Tyler, and I think since this was in the afternoon of the 2nd day, our creative brains were fried. I recommend using this stage as a though experiment for any competitors who might like to attempt the SAC to come up with ideas on how to better accomplish this task. After this, we only had 2-4 (HQ3) as the last mandatory checkpoint, so it was motor over to HQ3 before everything closed down and see if we could get some more points. Once we arrived at HQ3, we punched 2-4 and were able to start the local challenges, but couldn’t get any more checkpoints.  There were 4 challenges available at HQ3.

  • Rubik’s cube
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Lego Guy
  • Freeze your ass off

We decided to start with the Rubik’s cube.  We got 50 points if we got 1 side in 1 solid color, and 100 points to get 2 sides in solid colors.  This was a modified Rubik’s cube, so we couldn’t peel off the stickers (we tried 🙂 – think out of the box remember.  We had around 5 minutes to complete the task, and were only able to get 1 side, I couldn’t remember for the life of me how to get 2 sides, so we took the 50 points happily. Next we did the Intelligence gathering.  We had to move into a barn area and take note of all items of interest, there were 10 things of interest in the barn and we had to find as many of them as we could.  We found 7 of the 10 items.  The ones we missed were a lock pick, lock pick tensioner and a zip tie.  These items were very small and easy to miss visually.  We heard this was a fairly high score for the challenge. Next we tried the Lego Guy challenge. We were shown a picture of a figure make with legos.  Then we were asked a series of questions to attempt to

Lego Guy
Lego Guy

make us forget the picture.  Then were were given 5 minutes to assemble a lego guy that was a “PERFECT” match on the picture.  The picture to the left of this is NOT a perfect match to the actual Lego Guy in the challenge, but it gives you some idea of what you had to create.  This was a super difficult challenge, and I don’t know of any way to train for it.  It was 100 points for a perfect match, zero for a close match.  I heard only 1 team actually got it right. Finally, there was only 1 challenge left, and it was around 18:30, so only 30 minutes left in the 2019 Sniper Adventure Challenge.  It was time to “Freeze your Ass Off”.  The options for this challenge were “20 minutes in the water up to your neck” or “2 minutes submerged”. Tyler after having been in the cold lake water earlier refused to go in before me, so I stripped down to underwear and chose “2 minutes submerged”.  I think I got my head under for a total of 5 seconds the first time it was so shocking.  I progressively worked my way up to around 20-30 seconds under and finally finished.  By the end it wasn’t so bad, I had stopped shaking and could stay under much longer.  Now Tyler had to get back in, with a ripped blister on his pinky toe into the nasty stinky black (mud? / cow crap?) that was the bottom.  Tyler did his 2 minuets and we were done just 5-10 minuets before the close of the race. I could write more – but this is a heck of a long article, so I will stop here. Photography Note – some pictures are of Tyler and I, others of other teams at the match.  Some pictures are taken by me, and others taken by the Competition-Dynamics crew.      

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